According to research by Stanford University, going to church is good for your health. Apparently, “it boosts the immune system and decreases blood pressure. It may add as much as two to three years to your life”.
The report cited social support, wholesome behavioural patterns and an awareness of “a benevolent force greater than themselves” as reasons behind the statistics. I haven’t read the report in full, so I can’t comment on the methodology.
As I perused the article, I smiled to myself because the most life threatening rugby match I ever played in was between teams from vicar training colleges. There was a steady flow of ambulances from the pitch to the local A & E. It was scary!
But, despite the statistics, church goers aren’t immune from the trials and tribulations of life, including serious health issues. And, like everybody else, they grow old and face death. Attending church doesn’t come with any health guarantees.
Nevertheless, there are great benefits to coming to church. Yes, the social support is special, particularly during challenging times. Yes, serving others is a behavioural pattern that energises us. And, yes, the friendship of a loving God gives us hope and purpose both in life and death.
So, the one guarantee I will make is this: our welcome at All Saints will endeavour to give everyone a glimpse of these benefits. Why not come and try us out? A healthy handshake awaits you!
Revd Douglas Black